Todd Ohlmeier appeals a portion of the judgment in his criminal case imposing an assessment of $5,000 under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2). Federal law provides that a district court, until February 18, 2022, must assess an amount of $5,000 on any “non-indigent person” convicted of that offense. 18 U.S.C. § 3014(a). The amounts collected through this assessment are transferred to a Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund, administered by the Attorney General. Id. § 3014(c).
At the sentencing hearing, the district court considered whether Ohlmeier was “non-indigent” for purposes of § 3014(a) and resolved the issue as follows:
The defendant bears the burden of establishing, proving his indigence. The record shows, however, that Ohlmeier’s net worth was listed in the presentence report as negative $7,283.35 rather than the positive $7,283.35 stated by the district court. As the record comes to us, Ohlmeier has established that the district court relied on a plainly erroneous understanding of his net worth in determining whether he was indigent.
In making this predictive judgment, we observe that the district court’s brief discussion of the indigency question cited only Ohlmeier’s purported net worth of $7,283.35 and a monthly cash flow of $844 in support of its finding. Given his prison sentence of ninety-six months, Ohlmeier will be approximately sixty-five years old when he is released from custody, and his age, poor health, and criminal history may well affect his potential earning capacity thereafter. We do not opine here on whether a finding of indigency is required by the record as a whole, for that is a determination for the district court to make in the first instance, in light of the true facts and subject to review for clear error.
While the consequences here are not as grave as those where a term of imprisonment is premised on a factual mistake, we do conclude that the public reputation of judicial proceedings would be seriously affected if the judgment were to stand without further consideration.